Friday, December 16, 2011

Nuf Ced

This artwork is from a newspaper ad from exactly 100 years ago tomorrow. I was intrigued by the "Nuf Ced," of course. I knew that McGreevey said this a lot, hence the nickname. So I figured it was a common saying back then. But a news search from back then turned up hardly anything. Of course, it could be that everybody said it, but nobody wrote it like that in news articles. Or it could be that it was a regional Boston thing. But the odd thing is, this is from a Pittsburgh newspaper. (You can see William Pitt riding shotgun with Santa.) You'd think Pittsburgh people would hate this phrase, as Nuf Ced and the Royal Rooters notoriously mocked their players in the 1903 World Series, singing "why do you hit so badly?" to the tune of "Tessie" at Honus Wagner.

Nevertheless, Pickering's Furniture used the term twice in this ad, once on the sled and once on a reindeer. Go figure.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Schedule Stuff

Barring rainouts, and if I counted right, and assuming all games are sold out, the 750th consecutive sell-out at Fenway will be Friday night, June 22, against the former Boston Braves.

The Futures day now shows "Red Sox vs. Red Sox." The Paw Sox schedule still has them playing the Buffalo Bisons at Fenway that day. And as I said in my other post about this, three other affiliates are home that day, but none of their schedules show a Fenway game. If you're thinking it actually is two teams called the Red Sox playing each other (to still have two affiliates appearing but only one game), it would have to be the Salem Red Sox vs. the Pawtucket Red Sox. But that would mean both of these teams rescheduling their already-scheduled games against other teams. I think they just messed up. Or they mean to say "we'll have two Red Sox affiliates here that day" and this is the bizarre way they've chosen to say it, instead of showing just the Paw Sox-Bisons game as they had it before. Who knows.

Looks like it's still January 28th for the big ticket sale. And we'll see if the "Red Sox Road Trip" is as lame as it was last year, when you suddenly could only use the voucher they give to buy tix for your state's "day" at Fenway. That should be announced the second week of January.

Amy Labor*

A month ago I did a whole post about the amount of Interleague games that would be necessary in the upcoming odd-numbered-leagues era. In response to people (like that one fat dude I don't like) assuming teams would have to play 30 Interleague games instead of the 18 they play now, I said

while [the number] doesn't HAVE to go down, it doesn't have to go up, either.

Well, I win, mutha-humpers. This article about the new labor agreement says

a new schedule format starting in 2013, when there will be six five-team divisions, with no more than 20 interleague games per team

We'll see if my full prediction about when IL games are played comes true when they announce the full schedule format for '13 and beyond.

Now let's talk about the other stuff in the new agreement:

Players won't be able to get tattoos of corporate logos. They say they're doing this so that nobody gets any ideas of selling body space. While I'm strongly against people selling their bodies to anyone (especially corporations), I'm also strongly for people being able to do what they want to their own skin. And what if a player gets Lyme disease? "That's the Target logo, my friend. You're banned!"

Teams from the same division will be able to meet in the playoffs pre-ALCS/NLCS. I like this. Don't know why they ever did it the other way. But this could be misleading, since there will be two wild cards. If they're from the same division, there's no way around them playing each other in the wild card round. Maybe after that the seeding reverts to what it is now, making it so you still can't meet a divisional rival in the divisional round.

No more quick uniform number changes. If you suddenly want to change your number, or switch with a teammate, you're gonna have to wait. Must get the request in by July, and you won't get your new number until the following season. So the teams want to make sure their concessions stands don't get stuck with a bunch of unsellable outdated jerseys. Kind of depressing to see what motivates these teams. "Hey, let's make money by selling player jerseys! Wait, what if the player changes his number? I know, we'll not allow them to do it!" So the big new free agent is slumping and decides he wants a new number. Oh well, more important to make money than to make the players happy.

Players may be able to wear microphones during the game. Prepare yourself for a Fox game with no announcers, just Derek Jeter chewing noises for three and half hours. He's sending signals to the second baseman that mere mortals can't decipher. You can't teach that.

More replay, maybe. Yes, please.

Longer All-Star Break, with All-Star Game on either Tuesday or Wednesday. I think they're just lookin' for more rest wherever they can get it. Wusses!

Everybody gets their own room in spring training! I'm thinking maybe some of this stuff should just stay private, if for no other reason than to not bore us.

No more arguing scorers' decisions. Good call. Just put out a hit on them the following offseason. You can afford it.

No more betting on any sports with illegal bookies or breaking the law, and a possible suspension for assaulting the media or throwing shit at fans. Okay, mom.

No nicknames written on equipment that might offend fans. Billy Ripken, beware....

*You have almost no chance of getting this reference. I went to high school with a girl named Amy Laber (with an E). She actually resurfaced in my life about five years after graduation when we both worked in the music department at Borders in Danbury. It was weird, because we ran in different circles in high school, and I was slightly intimidated by her at the time, but suddenly there we were as equals, forced into the same clique by default...and we worked really well together. Nice girl. Amy, if you just Googled your name, hope your enjoying your summer. (Just randomly picking a season as she could find this at any point from now on.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Melancon And The Infinite Sadness Of Life Without Papelbon

Jed Lowrie has been traded. The Red Sox sent him and KyWhy--Kyle Weiland--to those future American Leaguers, the Astros, for pitcher Mark Melancon.

Part of me wants to be pissed that we are trading guys away in a fruitless search for finding the next Papelbon, ending up with a mess of wannabes while Pap steamrolls to the Hall of Fame.

But the thing about Lowrie--he may have reached the point where he's done all he can. And we know about his injuries. So when I think about it from the perspective that we're really not losing too much (though I'm not saying Lowrie's definitely done by any means), well, it's just another bullpen arm we're getting and that's a good thing.

And if you look at Melancon's 2011, you see a really awesome thing: He didn't give up a run in September, as the Astros' closer. Hardly any hits, either. You also may remember him from the 2009-2010 Yanks, where he pitched alongside Aceves in their future-Sox 'pen.

Louie: It Worked

The Louis CK $5 experiment worked. His little speech about it describes something like the way the world should work. Keep the filthy hands of corporations out of art. I'm glad this happened at all--it's a huge bonus that the person who did it is someone I'm a huge fan of.

Bob Costas Like You've Never Seen Him Before

From the Conan show.

Moving on, Shoppach is back. Did I ever tell you about the time my mom took a picture of his first major league hit at Yankee Stadium?

We also resigned Albers. We non-tendered Rich Hill, who did a fine job before his big injury. But he could resign with us anyway. They say he won't be ready to pitch until late in the season. I hope we get him back. Him and Albers both seem like righteous gentlefolk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dirty Ballplayer, Bad Prognosticator

In a piece picked up by more than one newspaper in December 1911, Ty Cobb predicted his Tigers would win the American League crown in 1912. We all know how that turned out. His prediction of the final order of teams was: Detroit, Philly, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, NY, Washington, St. Louis. Despite Ty's .409 average in 1912, the Tigers would finish in 6th place at 69-84, 36.5 games behind the world champion Boston Red Sox. He was right in saying the Yanks would blow goats in '12, but they actually came in last, 55 games out. Washington was a surprise, finishing second, a game ahead of the defending champion Athletics, and way ahead of Ty's predicted seventh-place finish (though he did say they "ought to make a better showing").

Cobb thought Del Gainer would return to form after a wrist injury cut his great '11 season short, but he would struggle at the plate in '12 and play in only 52 games.

About the Red Sox, Cobb said they "loom as a formidable flag contender," and noted "accidents" hurt them the year before.

There's an interesting note at the beginning of the story about Cobb "not dabbling in things vaudevillian this winter" and "not seeking publicity in the manner of a few other players whose names had best not be mentioned here." This is referring to a few Red Sox players who were performing as a barber shop quartet that off-season.

See the full article about Ty Cobb's 1912predictions here (go to page 12).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Louie Live

Louie CK is doing an AskMeAnything on reddit right now. Link is here. If you don't know how to "read" reddit, well, I'm throwing you right in there, and am trusting you'll figure it out.

Louie, on his "least favorite memory":

Probably pissing my pants at school, everyone pointing at the giant stain in the front of my pants and laughing. I mean EVERYONE. Jimmy Carter, Liza Minelli, Butros Butros Gali, the pope before he was pope AND the kids he fucked. they all laughed at me. then I had to walk home in the cold with pissed on pants and legs and I had red rashes all over the front of my lower body when I got home. The bath I took, though? mmmmm. that was good. I pissed in there too.

Throw It Back

Here's what we know about this season's throwback jerseys:

1936 uniforms will be worn vs. the A's on Wednesday, May 2nd (in honor of getting Jimmie Foxx from the A's prior to the 1936 season)

1912 uniforms will be worn for the pre-game ceremony on Friday, April 20th vs. the Yanks, the 100th anniversary of the first official game at Fenway Park

They say there will be four throwback games. I don't know if April 20th counts (or if the pre-game only account I read in some newspaper report is accurate). But I want to figure out the other 2 or 3 dates. Or at least what year's unis they'll use.

I'm assuming they'll only be using home uniforms. And the home jersey has been more or less the same since 1933, with the exception of the 70s pajamas. So I gotta figure (and I'm praying to all that is BillLee) that they finally break these out again. I was wondering about that one weekday game (besides April 20th) with the weird time, 4:05--the Mariners game on May 15th. I thought, Okay, Mariners started in '77, maybe we played them at 4:05 on May 15th in their first year. I looked it up. Close. We did play them on that date in their first season. And it was at 4:30 eastern time. Could that actually be why they made that game a late afternoon game? As I said before, it's a getaway day, but neither team is going very far afterwards, both play night games the next day, and most importantly, I've never seen the Sox go halfway for a getaway day--it's either a night game, or an early afternoon game. Why a slight head start for this particular game and only this game? I'm hoping it's their excuse to wear the '72-'78 pullovers and red hats. But why celebrate the Mariners' first season? To go along with the Foxx reasoning, is there a star player we got from the Mariners in 1977? Or some other late 70s year? I don't think so. But with not many clues at all to work with, it's not too crazy a theory.

And wait a minute, why did they specifically choose to use 1936 uniforms (Foxx aside)? It's the same fucking uniform we wear now! Except for a stripe around the sleeve. And the different B on the hat. 1935 (the calendar year in which we actually made the Foxx trade anyway!) is the way to go here--the "Red Sox" is different, with no blue outline. And the A's wore the same unis in '35 and '36, so it's not like they're just choosing that year to get a cooler A's uni. [Oddly, the press release says "For some games during the season, the Red Sox and the visiting team will wear throwback uniforms. Already on the schedule is May 2, when the A's will wear 1936 uniforms." They only say the A's will wear '36 uniforms. This could just be an issue with the language of the press release and what they mean is both teams will wear the '36 ones.]

As for the other possible games, they could just go with other years in the post-'33 era and essentially look just as they do now, but I gotta figure they try to make it more interesting than that. They did the blank jerseys last year, so let's eliminate those years. Some unique options are 1902 (the big "B A"), 1908 (the red sock), 1931 ("RED SOX"--different from today's font--with pinstripes), and several seasons (like 1930) with pinstripes and no lettering. All pre-'33 hats were different from today's. We already did 1908, and also 1902, I think. So those could be out but they are the two nuttiest. If they're doing this by "the first year of superstars we used to have," well...I don't really see anything matching that in any of these years, so....

I don't know. Maybe they'll just go with 1903 in honor of winning the first World Series. But against which team? We don't play the Pirates this year. If they do it by opponent, they could wear any of those older years when we play the Nationals, and have them wear Senators unis--or have the Twins wear Senators unis. We could break out the 1914s for a Braves game to honor the one WS they won in Boston, which was played at Fenway Park. Okay, fine, I'll go with those.

My final predictions:

4/20 vs Yanks: 1912 (pre-game only)
5/2 vs A's: 1935 (after they realize they should choose it over 1936)
5/15 vs M's: 1977
6/23 vs Braves: 1914
8/5 vs Twins or 6/9 vs Nats: 1931

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Got through right at 10:00 just now and got my September tickets. Literally as my order was confirmed, my inbox rang as the team's "additional tickets now on sale" e-mail arrived.

Minor glitch: when I got to the "enter your name/password" screen, it didn't recognize me. Tried to do the "open new account" thing with a different e-mail address, but it just wasn't letting me through. I quickly went to another tab and tried again with my name/password, and it worked fine. Had to settle for tix two rows farther back. Maybe with my first try I was the first person on the Internet to get through and they weren't quite ready for me.... Who knows.

Oh and that credit card from yesterday? I later updated it so I'd be all set for today. But it still came up with the old expiration date. So I knew I again couldn't use the current version as it would give the "that card number already exists" message. And again, I had to use the emergency credit card.

The Great Unnecessarily Secretive Fenway Yard Sale

Got my tix online in the morning, then got in the car and drove to Boston. Got my Anna's and went over to Lansdowne Street around noon. At the entrance to the Yard Sale, I was told I needed my winning e-mail to get in, which, of course, I didn't have since I didn't win. So I asked the guy if they planned on opening it to the public. He said, "they haven't yet...." When I asked "they haven't yet," he said, "well, there was some talk, but I don't know if they'll do it."

So I walked around the park for a while, continually checking the tweets from the team, since that's how they announced it last year. I eventually moved my car to Yawkey Way where I could get wifi--and I saw Darnell McDonald. Did the quickest grab/turn on/snap of all time, and got two mildly crappy shots of him getting into his waiting car:
Then after buying something at Twins, I asked another Fenway employee, "Are they gonna open up the Yard Sale to everybody?" He took a look at me, almost like he was determining my TravisBicklish jacket was a thread to "the brand," and said, "no." I did the standard clarification query, and he again said one word, "nope."

As we know, Fenway employees often tell you the exact opposite of the truth, so I wasn't about to give up. Fifteen minutes after being told No, the tweet appeared: Yard Sale now open to the public, come on down! I rushed in.

The jersey boxes were still there. Lots of recent ones, home, road, and red, plus a bunch of spring training ones. Then there were just a handful of 90s ones. Bill Fischer, John Dopson, Danny Darwin, Steve Ellsworth, etc. Some with the black armband. I really wanted one of those, but, at 65-75 bucks each, I knew I'd only be getting one. Also thought about a Manny Delcarmen one. But finally opted for a red Dana Levangie one:

Always liked that old bullpen catcher of ours, so I went with him. Even though there's no year tag, and nothing unique like the armband. But Dana was such a big and underrated part of two championships, and I saw so much of him in the early 2000s, I figured I'd rather have part of his history than a cooler-looking part of somebody's I don't care about as much.

They also had bats (not many left), signed balls, and other assorted junk in the Absolut Clubhouse. Out in the VOMITORIUM was more awesome junk. Instead of buying bricks, then filling a bag with junk, they just put low, low prices on the junk (media guides, etc.)--and the bricks, which were down to $5. That's right, I'm one step closer to building my own Fenway Park:
My third brick! Nice corners, fairly complete, an alphanumeric....wait, I'm critiquing a BRICK! My "joke" at the checkout line fell flat, when I asked the woman what kind of crazy person would buy a brick. She said, "you'd be surprised." Hellooo? I'M buying one. GET IT?

They also had a bunch of signs--hundreds of concession stand food item signs. And then there was the "slightly outdated technology" corner. TV monitors for five bucks, small speakers and electronic parts, etc. Out of that room I ended up with a
one-dollar sign from one of the Duck Boats from the rolling rallies: Russell Nua!
Then I took this pic of the Pru between the House of Blus and Ice Ream.
Anyway, I spent a lot of time in there, and just wished I had unlimited money. I'm just glad I got in this year after last year's fiasco. Ran into Kelly, and we talked about the damn employees and how they always seem to be trained to lie and stuff.

Remember, September tickets go on sale Sunday (today) at 10 a.m. Good luck.

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